Philadelphia International Airport’s (PHL) Star Program is a new collaboration between the airport and Marketplace PHL that recognizes concession operators who exceed Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards.
Although all airport concession locations have been designed according to ADA standards, PHL’s Star Program draws special attention to those concession locations that are designed and continue to operate above and beyond the law’s requirements.
“PHL is committed to providing a world-class travel experience to all our guests. Developing world-class accessible services, programs and facilities is an integral part of that commitment,” said Kathleen Padilla, PHL Deputy Director of Aviation for Diversity and Inclusion. “The Star Program is a first of its kind program in aviation to work together with our business partners that provide services to our guests and enable them to not only meet current standards but to exceed them and to lead in the transportation industry.”
Hudson News, Chico’s, White House Black Market, Soma, and OTG’s Sky Asian Bistro participated in a recent Star pilot program. The Star program will eventually be rolled out to all PHL Food & Shops concessionaires beginning in May 2021.
“The program helps concessioners meet and maintain compliance with the requirements of 2010 ADA Standards and Best Practices that we utilize in the airport, remediate current issues, and exceed standards to ensure the most accessible environment possible,” said Saron McKee, PHL’s Director of Access and Accessible Programs. “The end result will be fully compliant concessionaires that exceed the standards in areas such as wide access aisles and areas of clear floor space. The program was developed to ensure that people with disabilities not only have equal access to PHL Food & Shops restaurants and stores, but can enjoy the experience of shopping and dining while at PHL without structural barriers.”
Improvements made by the stores in the pilot included allotting more than the required space in the areas of the accessible route and clear floor space for people using wheelchairs, walkers, and people with luggage; accessible sales and service counters; and more space for charging stations and other amenities. All stores must also include the international symbol of accessibility on signage if they have more than one point of sale (POS) check-out area. If there is only one POS area in the store that is spacious and meets ADA standards, the international symbol of accessibility is not required.
“MarketPlace PHL recognizes the importance of designing and building spaces that go above and beyond the ADA requirements so that all PHL guests can feel comfortable within our concessions areas,” said Marketplace Vice President and General Manager Mel Hannah. “Our pilot program was incredibly successful and we look forward to the rollout of the Star Program within the rest of our shopping and dining in the upcoming year.”
Stores that participated in the pilot program will offer their participating review and feedback to McKee who will keep any suggestions in mind for when the program is rolled out to all stores.